We have a

passion for places ...

BIG + small.


has thirty-five years of government, small business, and nonprofit management experience focused on economic revitalization, place making, and regional food systems in the downtowns, neighborhoods, and market districts of cities throughout the Midwest. He’s served as a city planner, succeeded as a tavern keeper, and has developed two different community-based development organizations into national models. 

Between 1988 and 2005, Dan led Renaissance Rock Island, a consortium of nonprofit community and economic development groups that helped revive an Illinois community devastated by the mid-1980’s Rust Belt meltdown. Since 2007, he has led Eastern Market Corporation, a non-profit that is redefining the role of public markets and food hubs in the development of regional food systems and jobs creation. 

Since the mid-1990’s Dan has also served as a consultant to more than forty community development programs across North America and served on the board of directors of the International Downtown Association. He frequently presents at place making, economic development, and food conferences. 

Dan is a visionary with street cred. Having witnessed the process of economic development and revitalization from many perspectives, he provides the kind of insight needed to recalibrate strategies to improve organizational effectiveness. He also brings a canny ability to help communities spur economic regeneration by leverage existing assets in new ways and by increasing funding through innovative collaboration and partnership. His deep thinking about big trends and the national and regional issues that frame local development is tempered by street smarts and the ability to get things done with limited resources. 

Dan’s key competencies include real estate development, organizational capacity building, strategic planning, coordinating complex agendas, partnership development, regional cooperation, marketing, and special event programming. 

He has engaged in a wide range of participative community design and planning processes including organizing study trips, resource team visits, and community charettes. Current interests include food systems project planning, mixed-use and mixed-income development, and strategic planning for communities and organizations looking for a compelling vision for the future. 



joined the firm in 2013 as its Brand Strategist in response to growing interest from clients seeking a deeper understanding of the Brand Development and management process. With her years of experience in brand strategy, tourism, downtown development, and marketing, Vivian is in the unique position of not only understanding how “places” function and evolve, but she also understands how to discover and define their unique Brand Identity and develop it into a Brand Strategy. 

Her experience offers organizations a process for Brand Development that produces superior results by focusing on internal and external adoption strategies founded on a proprietary Inside-Out approach that is especially critical for those that seek greater brand value for ambiguous products like downtowns, cities, and other destinations. She has participated in the Brand Development process for a variety of clients including Chicago’s Yorktown Center, the Fort Wayne – Allen County Airport Authority, Olinger Distributing, and Historic Franklin, MI. 

With over 15 years of marketing experience in both nonprofit positions and as the account director for blue chip clients such as Tyson Deli and Zimmer Orthopaedics, Vivian understands how to develop cost-effective and results-driven marketing strategies tailored to specific needs. 

During her nine years in the nonprofit world, she developed and implemented comprehensive strategic work plans and marketing/communications strategies for four nonprofit organizations across the Midwest. Her understanding of the challenges and rewards of working with volunteer committees to bring a vision to life is second to none. 

Vivian’s economic development experience includes creating and implementing business recruitment, expansion, and retention strategies in three downtowns. Her tourism experience includes overseeing PR strategies for a large regional Convention & Visitors Bureau, as well as serving as the Executive Director for a county-wide tourism association. In those roles she created targeted communications strategies that increased journalist media coverage of area attractions and businesses by 75% and Implemented successful co-op advertising programs that created affordable advertising opportunities across a multi-state region. 

She has managed projects and events ranging from a downtown Fine Arts Show to a 10-day County Fair as well as overseen multi-channel client accounts ranging in budgets from $20,000 to over $1 million.